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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Dutch withdraw security for ex-MP
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ms Hirsi Ali has been offered the right to remain in the US
The Dutch government says it will no longer pay for bodyguards to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born former MP and outspoken critic of Islam.

Ms Hirsi Ali earlier this week returned to the Netherlands from the US, where she has been living for the past year.

The Dutch justice ministry said it could not justify paying for Ms Hirsi Ali's protection while she was abroad.

She continues to receive protection while in the Netherlands, where Islamic militants have threatened her life.

"When Ms Hirsi Ali is in the Netherlands, protection measures will be taken for her on the basis of recent threat evaluations," the Dutch Justice Minister, Ernst Hirsch Ballin told parliament in a letter.

Ms Hirsi Ali could no longer be regarded as a representative of the Netherlands after she resigned as an MP in 2006, Mr Hirsch Ballin said.

"In stepping down, Ms Hirsi Ali's status changed. Since this time she has no longer served in an official function for the Dutch state," he said.

Her current status did not warrant "any place for protection abroad", he added.

Death threats

Ms Hirsi Ali resigned from the centrist VVD party last year after admitting she had lied when applying for asylum in the Netherlands in 1992.

She then moved to the US to work for the conservative think tank, The American Enterprise Institute.

Her autobiography, Infidel, became a bestseller in the US and she was recently granted the right to remain in the country permanently.

She plans to return to the US after making arrangements for her protection, her lawyer told a Dutch television show this week.

Providing security for Ms Hirsi Ali is estimated to have cost the Dutch government 2m euros ($2.8m; 1.4m) last year, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Ms Hirsi Ali began receiving death threats after making public remarks condemning Islam and its treatment of women.

Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch film maker who collaborated with her on a short film, was stabbed to death in an Amsterdam street in 2004.

His killer, of Moroccan origin, left a note on the body warning Ms Hirsi Ali that she too would be killed, apparently over her attitude to Islam.



SEE ALSO
Dutch MP defies Muslim pressure
24 Jan 06 |  Europe
Profile: Ayaan Hirsi Ali
16 May 06 |  Europe

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